July 20, 2014

Cool Spring Tour, 150 Years After the Battle

ranger shannon moeckWhen I arrived at Holy Cross Abbey for the tour Friday, I was surprised to see a hundred or more cars and a crowd of about 200 people. The topic was the Battle of Cool Spring, which took place 150 years ago.

Jonathan Noyalas of LFCC and Shannon Moeck of the National Park Service were co-leading the tour. After lectures at a couple of sites on the abbey's property, the group traveled to the other side of the Shenandoah River to continue the tour on Shenandoah University's Cool Spring Campus.

In July 1864, General Jubal Early’s army, returning from his raid on Washington, was attacked by Federal units who forded the Shenandoah River and took up positions in the woods behind a stone wall at Cool Spring farm, now the site of a quiet monastery. A violent battle ensued, resulting in the Federal units retreating back across the river.

Most people have never heard of this battle, which is known variously as the Battle of Cool Spring, Island Ford, Parkers Ford, Snickers Ferry, and Castleman’s Ferry. Although it was a Confederate victory and delayed the Union pursuit by a few days, the armies would meet again in the Shenandoah Valley, with a significant Union victory taking place two months later at Winchester.

I've taken several tours led by Prof. Noyalas, starting in April 2008. Ranger Shannon was a fellow student on some of the tours, and now gives talks and tours regularly as a ranger at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Battlefield Park.
Shenandoah River Near Parkers Ford


River Seen from Western Side 
Linking to: Scenic Weekends


  1. Strange to think you had battles in such beautiful places

  2. Beautiful photos, wonderful place, must have been a cruel battle!

  3. It is interesting learning about these battles.. I love the views of the rivers. What a pretty spot.. Have a happy day!

  4. A beautiful park and very interesting history.

  5. The thought of fording a chilly or maybe freezing river before entering a battle sounds awful to me. Not only were people wounded and maybe killed but they were drenched doing it. It just makes me realize how dreadful wars really are.

  6. i've heard of jubal early in a few battles around here...beautiful photos!

  7. I have heard of Early's campaign in that area during that part of the war... strange to see how peaceful it is now.

  8. Looks like a peaceful place to have a battle! Peace be with you Tom The Backroads Traveller

  9. Hi Linda, Bet you are enjoying your Civil War tours... My hubby, George, LOVES Civil War history--and his hero was Robert E. Lee. We have visited many battlegrounds around the country ---and love the Shenandoah area... Thanks for sharing.

  10. I would be interested in learning more about this battle, but I have to admit that the setting is beautiful. I really like your photos of the river.

  11. Beautiful views of the river. What an interesting day I am sure this was!

  12. Such delightful river views. Sad that the beauty is stained by a rugged past.


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